Alan M. Petrillo
The newest pumper at Weltonville Fire Company, part of the Candor Fire District in Newark Valley, New York, isn’t the typical pumper one might see sitting on the apron. However, the custom-built Alexis vehicle-carrying a front-mount Hale pump and rear-mount Hannay reel stuffed with 2,300 feet of four-inch hose, was designed and crafted to serve the district’s unusual needs.
Straight to the Source
Weltonville Fire Company and Candor Fire Company form the Candor Fire District, which covers a total of 95 square miles of residential, agricultural, and small industrial exposures. Each company maintains its own station. “We’re out in the country and have a few dry hydrants, but most of our water sources are creeks and ponds,” says Ron Holbrook, chief of Weltonville. “It’s often very stony and rocky in our area, so if we can find a decent place to do it, we usually can drive the vehicle right into the water source. That’s the reason for the front-mount pump. In fact, we have driven our old Sanford pumper into the middle of a creek and pumped water from there.”
Holbrook says the department’s standard operating procedure is to typically lay hose to the water supply from where it anticipates setting up the pump, hook up the supply line, and begin pumping water. The department also makes use of tanker shuttles where it sets the new Alexis pumper up at a creek and fills tankers with it.
|(1) The custom-built Alexis pumper can drive directly into a water source when necessary.
(Photo courtesy of Alexis Fire Equipment.)
Reels the Norm
As for the large hose reel at the back end of the new Alexis pumper, Holbrook says four-inch supply hose and big hose reels have been used in his department, and in Candor’s, since before he joined 19 years ago. “When I joined in 1993, we were running a GMC with a hose reel on it, although it wasn’t as large as our newest reel,” Holbrook notes. “A hose reel allows us to deploy our supply line pretty quickly and also makes it a lot easier to pick up the hose when we’ve finished.”
Holbrook points out that Weltonville’s sister company, Candor Fire Company, has a pumper with two hose reels on the rear. “We recently had a fire in Owego and [provided] mutual aid to them,” he says. “We laid out a mile of hose with those two trucks.”
Dan Reese, general manager of Alexis Fire Equipment Company, says the large hose reel application isn’t the usual setup found on a pumper but is understandable given the needs of the Weltonville Fire Company. “From a workability standpoint, it made sense for them,” he says. “And, while we don’t see an awful lot of front-mount pumpers made, our job is to deliver what the customer needs to protect its area.”
Reese notes that the reel on the Weltonville pumper has complex hydraulics driving it. “Normally we’d use an electric motor for a standard reel, but this one had a system closer to what you would encounter on a tow truck-a system of levers and brakes.”
|(2) Weltonville Fire Company’s, Candor, New York, Alexis urban interface
wildland pumper carries a Hale HFM125 front-mounted 1,250-gpm pump
with a pump panel on the front bumper deck.
(Photo courtesy of Alexis Fire Equipment.)
Reese adds that Weltonville wanted the ability to use the truck as an attack vehicle as well as a supply pumper. “The four-door cab is set up to carry five firefighters,” he says, “and the pumper can be used for initial attack or wildland response because it is a 4×4 and not strictly a hose cart.”
Timing Is Everything
Todd Steadman, vice president of apparatus sales and service for LaFrance Equipment Corp. in Elmira, New York, which sold the Alexis pumper to Weltonville, says he began working with the truck committee in 2008 when it was headed by the late Chief Steve Gunther. “After they got a sense of what they wanted and the project’s budget, money became an issue, so the department applied for a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant,” Steadman says. “After they were awarded the grant, they went to bid and Alexis was awarded the contract.”
Although the front-mount pump was a very common option for Alexis, Steadman notes that “the flatbed structure of an International chassis of that magnitude was a bit unusual. It’s much more common on smaller applications like a Ford F-350 to F-550.”
The biggest challenge, Steadman maintains, was meeting the customer’s deadline with FEMA. “By the time they were able to proceed with the project, time had gotten close to the deadline when they had to use the grant money,” he says. “Alexis had to build the pumper for them in a couple of months.”
|(3) Weltonville’s new Alexis pumper has a custom-built Hannay rear hose
reel that can handle 4,300 feet of four-inch LDH.
(Photo courtesy of Weltonville Fire Company.)
The unit is built on an International 7400 four-door 4×4 chassis, is powered by a MaxxForce 9 330-horsepower (hp) diesel engine and Allison 3000 EVS transmission, and carries a Hale HFM125 1,250-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pump and a 500-gallon water tank.
Ernie Tuetken, outside sales representative for LaFrance Equipment, notes that Weltonville also considered Ford, General Motors, and Peterbuilt chassis but went with the International because it needed the greater gross vehicle weight vehicle to carry the water, equipment, and hose reel.
Tuetken says that going to the International 7400 4×4 chassis gave the department the option of a higher frame height. “That means the drive train components are higher, which helps them when they put the rig into the water,” he adds.
|(4) Weltonville Fire Company’s coverage area doesn’t have many hydrants, so the new Alexis pumper had to be able to access water sources like this waterway.
(Photo courtesy of Weltonville Fire Company.)
Holbrook says the department sees the Alexis front-mount pumper as an all-around type of vehicle. “If it’s a known structure fire, it goes with all of our apparatus,” he says. “But, it’s our first-out piece for a forest or wildland fire. We have a lot of state land in and around our district, and two fires in one year recently burned more than 100 acres of wildland each in our neighboring districts. We were called for mutual aid for both of them. This vehicle will be the one rolling to those kinds of calls.”
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based freelance writer and is a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.
Weltonville Fire Company, Newark Valley, New York
Strength: 27 firefighters, one station, providing fire suppression, rescue, and first-response emergency medical services (EMS).
Service area: Provides fire services to the hamlet of Weltonville and the surrounding area covering 30 square miles and a population of approximately 1,200 and as part of the Candor Fire District, through mutual aid to both the village and town of Candor, a mainly residential community with agriculture and small industry for businesses.
Other apparatus: 2009 International vacuum tanker, 750-gpm pump, 3,600-gallon water tank; 2002 Pierce quint with 61-foot Skyboom, 2,250-gpm pump, 500-gallon water tank, 1,000-gpm deck gun, 1,250-gpm boom monitor; 1992 E-ONE pumper, 1,250-gpm pump, 700-gallon water tank; 1997 International walk-in rescue truck; 2005 Ford Excursion for fire police; 1998 Ford ambulance for first-response EMS.
Alexis Front-Mount Pumper
• International 7400 four-door 4×4 chassis
• Heavy-duty 3⁄16-inch aluminum body
• 203-inch wheelbase
• 27-foot, seven-inch overall length
• 10-foot, one-inch overall height
• 14,000-pound front axle
• 21,000-pound rear axle
• MaxxForce 9, 330-hp engine
• Allison 3000 EVS transmission
• Hale HFM125, 1,250-gpm pump with front deck-mounted pump panel
• 500-gallon water tank
• Hannay reel at rear with capacity for 2,300 feet of four-inch hose
• Two 2½-inch discharges, front pump head
• One four-inch discharge under front bumper face, right side
• One three-inch booster discharge feeding rear manifold
• One 2½-inch gated front suction
• Two 1½-inch cartridge lay preconnects
• One 1½-inch preconnect in hose well, front bumper extension
• Reese-type front and rear winch/hitch receiver with electrical connections
• Warn 9.5Ti portable winch system
• Winch storage compartment, rear between frame rails
• Two storage compartments under chassis cab rear doors, one each side
• Two compartments with roll-up doors, right side of flatbed
• Suction hose storage hose tray on right side compartment top
• Four underbody storage compartments, two each side
• Ladder and suction hose storage on left side
• Progressive Dynamics battery charger with Kussmaul Auto Eject
• Audiovox backup camera system with seven-inch color monitor
• Whelen CenCom electronic siren with 200-watt Federal speaker
• Four FRC Evolution LED scene lights, three front and one rear
• Whelen LED warning light package
Price without equipment: $291,248